Part of Tian’s sublime achievement is an interweaving of the mordant tragicomedy of contemporary Chinese history with the morality and hopeful endurance of the mother (beautifully played by Lu Liping) without reducing either to the status of cliche, formula, or platitude. . . . In many respects Tian and his screenwriter are more interested in conveying what this life feels like than in proposing what it means.
September 16, 1994